Birthday Status Post

Google Birthday Doodle

Google continues to be creepily/amazingly personal with a special doodle for me today – the alt-text reads “Happy birthday Adam!”

Today is my 35th birthday. Thirty-five isn’t that old, but it definitely feels like I’m not in the beginning part of my life anymore, like I should have gotten somewhere by now. So, I’m kind of taking stock of things today and I decided to put it all in a blog post for your enjoyment!

Fitness

The first thing that comes to my mind is my quest to become less of a squishy lump. As I’ve written pretty extensively about, I am in the middle of a 100 Day Challenge to exercise every day for 100 days. My first day was January 11, 2014, which makes today Day 74. Although I have had some days with very little dedicated exercise time, I have not yet missed a day. I’m pretty proud of that, as I’ve tried many times before to get into regularly exercising and it has always kind of petered out at some point. This feels different. With more than two months in the bag, I have pretty well established daily exercise as a part of my routine. After the 100 Day Challenge ends, I probably won’t force myself to make it every day. Five days per week with a couple of rest days sounds pretty good to me. I don’t want to cut back any more than that mostly because I’ve started to really relish my workout time. It is 30-60 minutes dedicated solely to me when I can focus on improving myself in a very important way. I don’t want to give that up any more than I have to. Also, I don’t want to suffer from the health problems that will certainly crop up if I don’t take a bunch of weight off, many of which are in my family history. I want to be able to chase grandkids around one day!

Mental Health

My own assessment of my mental health varies wildly depending on the day, the time of day, what and whether I’ve eaten recently, and the phase of the moon from what I can tell. For example, this morning I was feeling pretty good. I had had a short but hard run on the treadmill, I was sufficiently caffeinated, and it’s my birthday! Now, I’m tired from getting up so early and I have a headache from listening to the kids shriek all day. I’m feeling rather less good about my mental state. Overall, I think I’m coping adequately with my various issues. Things could be better, but I don’t have the time or energy to really focus on this more than I already am. Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to not be so exhausted at the end of the day so that I can work on feeling better about myself.

Family

I am very lucky to have the family that I do. My wife is a near-perfect companion for me in every way. My sons are little geniuses who make me laugh every day. Even though they literally drive me insane some days, I am so happy that I get to stay at home with them while they are little. Orion (my 2-year-old) is starting to get really good at expressing his wants and needs. This is especially exciting in light of his early speech troubles. On the other hand, he has mastered “no” but hasn’t really even started working on “yes”. Like any toddler, he often says no to things that he actually wants just because he can. It is both funny and frustrating. Leo (my 6-month-old) is perpetually cheerful. It’s almost creepy how happy he is most of the time. Making him laugh out loud is often the highlight of my day. Although he steadfastly refuses to roll over from back to front, he is a champ at going from front to back and he is learning to use a walker to get around. Right now he’s going through a phase where he wants to grab anything that comes into grabbing distance. That includes headphone wires, phones, glasses, silverware, dishes full of food, hair, lips, his bottle, and the dogs. I don’t really want icky little baby fingerprints all over my glasses, but I am enjoying watching him learn about his little world. Like I said, I’m damn fortunate.

Self IMprovement

For about the past year, I’ve been teaching myself how to program. I started with some video lectures made available by Stanford from their introductory Java class and I quickly discovered that there are dozens of free interactive courses online at sites like Coursera and edX. I’ve completed somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 of these MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), almost all in computer science. I can’t remember ever feeling this fascinated with something that actually has money-making potential. I’m a little worried that I seem to have found my calling in my mid 30s at a time when going back to school just isn’t possible. Hopefully, I can build up enough of a portfolio of projects to serve as a substitute for a degree. In any case, I’m going to keep learning about this stuff because I really really like it. I’ve got an idea for a web app and a couple ideas for Android apps. My current main focus is learning enough about Android and web technologies (PHP, MySQL, Javascript, etc.) to actually build those projects. I manage to get in a little bit of learning almost every day, but I really wish I had some longer stretches of time to really get in the zone and practice putting the pieces together.

 

Well, I’ve been working on this post in 10 minute increments all day, so I think there’s been enough introspection for now. Here’s to another year of weathering the storms and soaking up the sunshine.

100 Day Challenge – Days 33, 34, and 35

I’ve been super busy the last few days–too busy to blog, but not too busy to exercise! On Wednesday, I swam 0.25 miles (9 laps at the Y pool) and today I swam 10 laps! I can feel myself getting stronger with every swim. I would have gone 9 or 10 laps yesterday too, but I was too tired to get up early and the kids kept me on my toes for the rest of the day. I had a Kiwanis-related meeting in the evening, so the only exercise I could really fit in was 30 push-ups right before bed. Still, I couldn’t do more than about 20 a week ago: progress!

I know it’s silly, but after I do a swim workout (even my short little workout) I feel really superior to all those guys in the locker room who don’t have wet hair and wet shorts. “Oh, sure, jogging or playing basketball is a fine workout. In fact, I used to be just like you guys! But now I’m a swimmer.” Heh.

100 Day Challenge – Day 32

First of all, I somehow forgot how to count back in mid-January. Luckily, I just remembered and today’s post has the right title. Just so that it is written down somewhere (until I figure out a better way to organize it), Day 1 was January 11, 2014.

Also, I have not blogged in several days, maybe a week. But fear not, I have not missed a day yet! Last Friday I swam laps for the first time in my life. I made it a quarter mile of sidestroke before I was worn out. It turns out that even an “easy” stroke is kind of a lot of work when you’re just going and going and going. The sidestroke also uses some muscles on my sides between my rib cage and pelvis that I apparently don’t use for anything else. It took me all of half a lap to figure out that I would have to switch sides back and forth to even out the wear.

Also on Friday, I contracted some sort of stomach flu. It wasn’t as bad for me as it was for my wife and sons when they had it, but it was bad enough. It only lasted 2 days including Friday, so it didn’t make me miss a 100 Day Challenge day. On Saturday, I did 2 sets of 10 pushups. I haven’t done pushups in years, probably.

Today I went to the gym in the evening because I literally forgot to leave the house this morning. I was just sitting there, eating toast and listening to a podcast, and then it was too late to get there, work out, and get home. When I finally made it in, I pedaled like zombies were on my tail (the pool was full of swimming lessons instead of lap lanes). At least, I thought I was going really hard. I set the resistance intervals to be 4 minutes hard and 2 minutes easy, but I didn’t get any significant extra distance or calorie burn according to the bike’s computer. I felt like I was getting a higher level of workout, though. Weird.

Finally, I have a Lazy Triathlon update! After today’s biking, here are my totals:

Run/walk: 21.1 miles (20 miles required)
Bike: 54.9 miles (60 miles required)
Swim: 0.25 miles (2 miles required)

It will take some focus to get all that swimming in by February 23, but it is totally doable. I’ll probably swim a quarter mile per day for the next 3 days and 4 out of 5 weekdays next week. The fifth day will be the last little bit of biking. That gives me some cushion in the weekends to make up for lost time or get ahead. It’s kind of blowing my mind that I’ll have done this whole lazy triathlon thing, but I won’t even be halfway done with the challenge! I’ll have to think of another way to focus my workouts after the triathlon is over….

100 Day Challenge – Day 30

I had to do a short workout tonight as my lovely bride is recovering from some bad tacos she ate yesterday. She was in no condition to wrangle a 2-year-old who decided not to nap this afternoon and a 5-month-old who needs near-constant attention when he’s awake! I ended up doing 25 minutes on the bike—6 miles—and actually finding that I had to work for it. I think I have inadvertently done too many days in a row targeting my quads. Tomorrow I’m thinking a relatively easy jog on the treadmill to kind of even things out.

100 Day Challenge – Days 28 and 29

Monday (Day 28), I got back on the stationary bike. I adjusted the seat down to shift my weight back further on my hips and hopefully make some use of all the padding I have back there. It seems to have worked. My butt was still a little sore after 8 miles or so, but it felt more like a body part that needs to toughen through experience rather than a bruised butt-bone.

Yesterday (Day 29), I used the crossramp machine. I really pushed myself and got in about 2.6 miles of “running”. I’ve started keeping a running tally of my Lazy Triathlon progress as I realized I’m probably getting close to the right amount of running and coming right along biking. As of February 4, I have 0/2 miles swimming, 31.7/60 miles biking, and 18.9/20 miles running/walking. Not too shabby! I just need to get about 28 miles of biking, 1 mile of running and 2 miles of swimming in by February 23!

On an unrelated note, I’m sure that I am starting to look pretty crazy when I’m exercising. I’ve found my “zone”, where I feel like I’m getting a good workout, but not killing myself, and I get pretty sweaty. Actually, I get really sweaty. Like it’s dripping off me starting about 5-7 minutes into the workout. By the end, my shirt is pretty well soaked and I need a couple of paper towels to mop off my face. Anyway, I hope I’m not weirding out the other exercisers who sweat normal human amounts.

100 Day Challenge – Day 26

I decided to take it a bit easy today. It is the weekend, after all. I went to the gym and got on a treadmill. I decided to continue experimenting with 2 minute intervals and set the treadmill for 3.5 mph with 0° incline for the easy intervals and 4 mph with 3° incline for the hard intervals. This was actually a bit harder than I meant to do for an easy day, but it worked out pretty well anyway. Toward the end, I just really wanted to go sit down for a good long while, which I think is a message from my body that I need to take it even easier tomorrow.